Thursday, January 2, 2014

Restaurant Review: The Pressroom

The Pressroom is reminiscent of just that—a newspaper office in an old movie like “His Girl Friday,” or “It Happened One Night.” Of course, the waiters don’t look anything like Cary Grant or Clark Gable, and the hostess was definitely no Rosalind Russell.
The restaurant is housed in a 250 year-old Victorian Queen Anne building, a building which originally housed Steinman Hardware. Constructed of brick, it is typical of the many historic buildings located nearby in the historic areas of Downtown Lancaster. Apart from the bar near the front door, the restaurant is decorated in shades of brown, gold and emerald green, with half-walls of glass and wood separating different sections.
The soft music, the muffled sounds from the bar, and the low rumble of conversation create a warm atmosphere. This is complemented by the décor—exposed brick on the east wall speaking to the history of the building (it is even possible to see where the windows were bricked up after the building’s early days as a hardware store), gold-colored accents shining in the wintry sunlight, framed copies of memorable front pages from the Lancaster newspapers on the walls.
The newspapers—conversation starters, at the very least—provide entertainment during the relatively short wait for food. The headlines scream such news as “Nazis Marching on Soviet as Hitler Declares War,” and “Roosevelt Wins!” declaring FDR’s success in the presidential election of 1932 in a font that took up half of the area above the fold. The words “Lindbergh Baby Kidnapped,” splash across one front page, and “U.S. Declares War on Japan,” monopolize another.  
One of the many interesting details that perpetuate the theme of a newspaper office is the menu: shaped like a small newspaper, with a nameplate, masthead and issue number, even different sections. Within the newspaper-shaped menu, the lunch selection is small but choice, consisting of high-end dishes like crab cakes, gourmet salads, gourmet sandwiches, prime burgers and soups.
The service is quick and professional on most occasions and the food makes the trip to the city worth a few miles’ drive. The prices are higher than the average café, but the portion sizes and quality of the food make up for it. The restaurant offers complimentary parking in a nearby garage, from which guests walk through historic Steinman Park—a small courtyard adjacent to the Pressroom.

The restaurant is a very short walk from Central Market, an attraction in downtown Lancaster City which is open on Tuesdays and Fridays, and a short drive from many of the Inns of the Lancaster County Bed and Breakfast Inns Association.